NSF Mid-CAREER Advancement (MCA)
This ORSP summary announcement excerpts key aspects of this funding opportunity. UM faculty interested in exploring this opportunity are encouraged to read NSF the solicitation carefully and contact Jason Hale, or their designated pre-award research administrator, with questions. https://beta.nsf.gov/funding/opportunities/mid-career-advancement-mca
Proposals are due to the NSF the first Monday in February each year.
NOTE: Enhanced proposal development support may be available for UM applicants through IDRUM initiative within ORSP. Contact Jason Hale (firstname.lastname@example.org) for questions about how IDRUM can support your proposal. https://orspresdev.olemiss.edu/idrum/
Scientists & engineers at Associate Professor rank (or equivalent) can substantively enhance and advance their research program through synergistic and mutually beneficial partnerships, typically at an institution other than their home institution. Projects that envision new insights on existing problems, or identify new but related problems previously inaccessible without new methodology, or without expertise from other fields, are encouraged.
Partners from outside the PI's sub-discipline or discipline are encouraged, but not required.
PIs must be a) at the Associate Professor rank (or equivalent; see Additional Eligibility Information), and b) at that rank for at least 3 years by the proposal submission date.
The collaborative partner(s) may not be listed as co-principal investigator(s) on the cover page. Instead, the partner(s) should be designated as senior personnel or consultants.
NSF seeks MCA proposals from mid-career scientists at the Associate Professor rank (or equivalent) who wish to substantively advance their research program and career trajectory. A primary objective is to ensure that scientists & engineers remain engaged and active in cutting-edge research at a critical career stage replete with constraints on time that can impinge on research productivity, retention, and career advancement. Thus, by (re)-investing in mid-career researchers, NSF hopes to enable a more diverse scientific workforce at high academic ranks.
The MCA provides protected time and resources to enable advancements in creativity and productivity. Projects that envision new insights on existing problems or identify new but related problems previously inaccessible without new methodology or expertise from other fields are encouraged, but not required. The MCA fosters innovation by supporting synergistic and mutually beneficial partnerships  to catalyze convergence across different disciplines or sub-disciplines. Scientists at the Associate Professor rank (or equivalent) are freer than their more junior colleagues to pursue bold and innovative research ideas, but at the same time are often more constrained due to increased service and teaching responsibilities that can hamper scientific productivity. MCA support is expected to help lift these constraints and reduce workload inequities.
A key component of a successful MCA will be the demonstration that the PI's current research program could substantively benefit from the protected time, mentored partnership(s), and resources provided through this special program, such that there is a substantial enhancement to the PI's research and career trajectory, enabling scientific and academic advancement not likely without this support.
All MCA proposals must include letters from a) the partner(s) describing the nature of the collaboration and the benefits of doing so for both parties, as well as b) the departmental chairperson (or an equivalent organizational official). The Project Description of a MCA proposal must include three sections in addition to the other required elements as defined in the PAPPG; these are described in more detail under Proposal Preparation Instructions and include:
1) Candidate's Past Research
2) Candidate's Proposed Research Advancement and Training Plan
3) Candidate's Long-Term Career Plans
MCA awards will provide funds to support the mid-career researcher (PI) and one month of summer support for the collaborative partner (in lieu of summer support for the partner, other reasonable collaborative costs may be considered). Funds for the PI include up to a total of 6.5 months of salary, calculated as half of a typical 9-month academic year plus two additional summer months. Fringe benefits are also included and an additional $100,000 for other direct costs in support of the research advancement and training plan. The aforementioned funds are total amounts that may be expended over the course of 3 years. Travel to attend a PI meeting during the first and final years of the award will also be supported.
Successful MCA proposals will provide convincing evidence that the candidate's research program could substantively benefit from the protected time and resources provided, such that there is a substantial enhancement to their research and career trajectory, enabling scientific and academic advancement not likely without